The fall of Made.com

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Made.com’s stock of furniture are being collected so that they can be auctioned off. This step aims to console the creditors of the company with whatever payback that remains possible. However, Made.com was a very successful company not very long ago. So what led to the fall of the UK Furniture champion?

Made.com was founded in 2010 to provide affordable high end furniture. The company aimed at replacing the global furniture leader IKEA. The company was accepted by the UK citizen wholeheartedly, for its unique branding stance. The company collaborated with only select partners and even refrained from opening physical stores. Although in later stages the company did open physical stores, its emphasis had always been online.

The golden time in the company’s fortunes arrived during the pandemic. The pandemic forced people to shut themselves in their homes. It was during this period that many started to explore their furniture options. The pandemic also provided a unique opportunity to exploit the relaxed supply chain induced by massive lockdowns, shutting down major businesses.

Aided by these favourable conditions, Made.com flew. The company reported a sale of  £315 million in 2020, a rise of 30%. The fantastic growth continued till the first few months of 2021, where the company reached a growth of over 60%. Propelled by these sharp growth rates, Made.com filed for an IPO. Now, this is where the troubles for Made.com began.

The company kept the stock price at 200 pence. This gave the company a net valuation of £775 million. However, just after the listing for IPO, the company’s stock prices took a windfall. On the first day itself the share price fell by 7% and hasn’t recovered since then.

Another reason that hampered the furniture company was the increased pressure on the supply chain. The company took advantage of a relaxed supply chain system. However, once businesses started opening up, the pressure on the supply chain enhanced. Made.com found it extremely difficult to deliver their products to the consumers on time. Many customers complained about the delay in product delivery, sometimes even extending to a month.

What added salt to Made.com’s wounds was the sharp rise in the cost of living. After the lifting of the pandemic, it became costly for everyone to do the same thing they did before the pandemic. In such situations people refrain from investment, especially in depreciating assets like furniture.

This all kept driving the company down. In 2022, the company’s loss grew to £35.3 million. The situation declined to a point where people who had paid for the furniture, neither received the product nor did they find any way for cashback from the company. The Board of Directors then decided to proceed the company to administration.

Administration is a special alternative to filing outright bankruptcy. Company’s brand name, domain name and its unique designs of furniture were sold off to the rival Next at a price of £3.4 million. Do remember that once the company was valued at £775 million.

While the Intellectual property was auctioned off, the stock of furniture piled by the company is next in line.

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  • Examples like these makes us realise the thin line between macro economic activities and business and how strong is the whole connection between academic and market structure. Made.com, i recall reading, was hit with consumers cutting back on discretionary spending in the face of rising mortgage rates and higher food and energy bills right after the pandemic. Any good company or even a good post pandemic research would have prepared this company to face this as it is an obvious economic phenomenon in academics.

  • The value of a domain is a measure of how much it is worth in the market. This value can be influenced by a variety of factors, including the demand for the domain, the quality of the website associated with the domain, and the overall brand value of the company the domain represents. In the case of made.com, the value of the domain would depend on the value of the company as a whole. If the company is experiencing declining revenues and a decrease in valuation, it is likely that the value of the domain would also decline, as there is less demand for it and it is perceived as being less valuable. On the other hand, if the company is successful and growing in value, the value of the domain may also increase.

  • While not all companies will meet the same fate as Made.com, these tough trading conditions caused by the cost-of-living crisis are, according to the Bank of England, likely to continue for UK retailers until mid-2023 at the earliest.
    The online furniture retailer had seen an influx of customers during the Covid-19 pandemic but was hit by supply chain issues in 2021 when coronavirus lockdowns led to an increase in freight costs.

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